Enrollment up at ATU-Ozark, down at UAFS

by The City Wire staff (info@thecitywire.com) 4 views 

Spring semester enrollment figures were up more than 10% at the Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus and are down 2% at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

The student count at the growing ATU-Ozark campus totaled 1,826, which also reflects a 30% increase compared to 2011.

ATU-Ozark Chancellor Jo Alice Blondin partly credits the campus’ enrollment increase to its expanded programs.

“Increasing our offerings in Allied Health and Applied Technology, such Energy Management and Supply Chain Management, has assisted the Ozark Campus in realizing enrollment gains,” Blondin said in a statement.

Richard Harris, chief student officer at ATU-Ozark, also praised campus faculty and staff for contributing to the ongoing increase.

At UAFS, the spring semester enrollment was 6,589 students, with a full-time equivalent count of 5,289. UAFS Chancellor Dr. Paul Beran said despite the decline, the pipeline of graduates continues to grow.

"This is the fourth highest spring enrollment figure in the institution's 85-year history,” Beran said in a statement. "Included in those figures are increases in three colleges, increases in first-time entering student enrollment and increases in upper-division enrollment. On top of that, we continue to graduate more students with four-year degrees. This is all good news."

Dr. Ray Wallace, UAFS provost and senior vice chancellor, said the 2% enrollment decline is primarily a result of fewer remedial students and the loss of students placed on academic suspension due to poor grades.

According to Wallace, students who did not pass any courses for a given term are immediately placed on financial aid suspension.

"If students failed to pass their courses through non-attendance, failure or withdrawal, we felt it imperative not to reward them with tax-payer funded revenue. Therefore, approximately 260 UAFS students were put on suspension through this policy for the spring semester, and many of these students did not return,” Wallace explained.

The UAFS statement also noted that three academic colleges – Languages and Communication, Applied Science and Technology, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – all showed significant increases in majors.

The College of Languages and Communications had an increase of 20% in declared majors, the College of Applied Science and Technology showed an increase of 13% in majors and STEM had a 9% increase in majors.

"The two science-related colleges' increases result from the University's response to a nationwide mandate promoting fields in math and science," said Wallace.

UAFS reported an 18% increase in baccalaureate degrees awarded during the 2011-12 academic year, and UAFS officials expect a 12% record increase for the 2012-13 academic year.